Himalayan glaciers melting far faster this century, says study

LONDON: Himalayan glaciers have been melting twice as fast since the start of this century, underscoring the threat the climate crisis poses to water supplies for hundreds of millions of people across Asia, according to a study published.
Scientists have long been trying to establish how quickly rising global temperatures caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas are eating away at the region’s icebound landscapes.
The new analysis, spanning 40 years of satellite observations across India, China, Nepal and Bhutan, showed glaciers have been losing the equivalent of more than a vertical foot-and-a-half of ice each year since 2000. That represents double the rate between 1975 and 2000.
“This is the clearest picture yet of how fast Himalayan glaciers are melting over this time interval, and why,” lead author Joshua Maurer, a PhD candidate at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said in a statement.
Although melting ice caps at Earth’s north and south poles are already destabilising the climate system, the retreat of Himalayan ice has more direct consequences for some 800 million people who depend on meltwater to sustain their rivers.
Seasonal flows of runoff appear to be increasing for the time being as glaciers degrade. But scientists fear what is likely to happen as time goes on: a gradual dwindling of water supplies to floodplains in India, Pakistan and China. — Reuters